admin - February 17, 2011
February is Heart Month, and in a press release today, the Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) is urging everyone to pay attention to their legs for signs of peripheral arterial disease or clogged arteries in the legs, which increases the risk of heart attack or even death.
Symptoms of PAD can include:
- Tired, cramping leg muscles (in calf, thigh or buttocks) that occurs during light physical activity, such as walking, and goes away after resting.
- Foot or toe pain that can often disturb sleep
- Skin wounds or ulcers on the feet or toes that are slow to heal (or that do not heal for 8 to 12 weeks).
While some people may pass off the symptoms as age-related, still others may have no symptoms at all. Therfore, it is important to know that anyone over the age of 50 is at risk for PAD, especially if you have the following additional risks:
- A history of smoking
- High blood pressure
- High or abnormal cholesterol numbers
- An African-American heritage
- A personal history of coronary heart disease or stroke
Good news is the testing, called an ankle brachial index screening, is quick, painless and non-invasive. National medical guidelines recommend individuals in the following categories receive this testing for PAD:
- Adults under 50 with diabetes and at least one other risk factor (listed above)
- Adults aged 50 years or older with diabetes or a history of smoking
- Adults aged 70 years or older
- Adults with one or more symptoms of PAD
The VDF press release urges that if you fall into any of these categories, talk to your health professional about being tested, and if you would like a free “Heart and Sole Kit” from the VDF that has more information about PAD, please visit www.padcoalition or call 1-866-PAD-INFO (866-723-4636).
Learn what to expect from a peripheral arterial disease screening from Life Line Screening, which includes a video.